Dentist Giving Dental Aligners To A Patient.

Alignment Matters: Straighter Teeth for Better Health

Did you know the alignment of your teeth affects your health and wellbeing? Having straight teeth is more than just a cosmetic issue. Read on to learn more about the impact of having misaligned teeth on your overall health and what you can do to fix this problem.  

 

Merriam-Webster defines alignment as “the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other, a forming in line, etc.”. Misalignment is just the opposite of this- it is improper positioning, not forming in line. Your dentist may use the term “malocclusion”, which means teeth that aren’t aligned properly- usually they are crooked, crowding other teeth, and throwing off your bite. When crowding happens, it’s harder to keep the teeth clean- making them more vulnerable to tooth decay 

 

Most people know it is best to avoid tooth decay. It can lead to cavities, pain, infections, and it severe cases, even an abscess or tooth loss. But did you know misaligned teeth can cause a lot of other health problems, too? When teeth are severely misaligned, it impacts how we chew, speak, and can even affect how we breathe. A person with crooked teeth may have a tooth (or several teeth) that dig into their gums and cheeks. It may cause them to bite their lips more frequently when talking or eating.   

 

Over time, misalignment results in injury to the soft tissues of our mouth- making us more prone to infections. The improper distribution of force on the surface of crooked teeth can eventually lead to teeth being loose or even falling out.  

 

Having a crooked or crowded smile may impact a person’s mental health, as well. When we don’t feel confident in how our smile looks, we may not let others see it. Over time, that embarrassment over the appearance of the teeth takes a toll– particularly for young people who may be more at risk for teasing from their peers.  

 

So, what can you do if your teeth are crooked? Is there a way to fix crowded teeth? The good news is, yes, there are treatments available to correct teeth that are misaligned. Your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to help coax the teeth back into their natural position and restore your bite.  

 

Today, we have more options for orthodontic treatment. Depending on the correction you need, traditional braces with brackets and wires may be needed, or your dentist may recommend a removable aligner tray like Invisalignâ. These sleek, clear trays are hardly noticeable, can be removed to eat, and are easy to clean. Your Today’s Dental dentist will fit you for the trays right in their office. The convenience of Invisalignâ makes it a popular choice for many people.  

 

Once the treatment with braces or aligner trays is complete, it will be very important to wear a retainer (an appliance that helps keep teeth where they’re supposed to be) for the prescribed number of hours every day. And as always, it is important to maintain your regular schedule of visits to the dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning to keep your newly straightened teeth clean and healthy.  

 

One important thing to note – there are online, direct-to-consumer companies offering straightening trays for use at home. They advertise their aligner trays as a more affordable option, and they claim they are safe and effective. However, they are not safe. In severe cases, they may even cause irreparable harm to your jaw or tooth loss.  

 

It is very important to be under the care of a dentist or orthodontist who is familiar with your individual needs and is monitoring your treatment regularly to ensure the teeth are moving as they should. This can help you avoid the need for extensive (and expensive) dental work to correct damage from the use of home aligning trays.  

 

Your dental insurance will often cover a portion of orthodontic treatment. At Today’s Dental, you can apply for Care Credit to help spread out the cost of orthodontic treatment into affordable monthly payments. If you have crooked or crowded teeth, call today to make an appointment to be evaluated and discuss your options.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Yes, naturally perfectly straight teeth are relatively rare. Most people will have some degree of misalignment or irregularity in their teeth. However, slight imperfections can be quite normal and don’t necessarily require treatment unless they cause other issues.

Straight teeth have several benefits. They improve your oral health by making it easier to clean between teeth, which can lower the risk of cavities and gum disease. They also contribute to better digestion by facilitating proper chewing. Aesthetically, straight teeth can enhance your smile and boost your self-confidence.

You can make your teeth straight by undergoing orthodontic treatment. Traditional braces, clear aligners like Invisalign, and sometimes dental surgery are common methods. It’s important to consult with a dentist or orthodontist who can provide advice based on your specific needs.

Yes, it’s possible to fix some teeth alignment issues without braces. Options include clear aligners, retainers, veneers, and in some cases, dental surgery. However, the best solution depends on the specific condition of your teeth, so it’s recommended to consult with a dental professional.

The average duration for wearing braces is typically between one and three years. However, the exact timeframe can vary widely depending on the complexity of the alignment issues, the type of braces, and the patient’s age and overall oral health. After braces are removed, a retainer is usually required to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

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